Current Projects

Causes and Consequences of Interpersonal Violence Against Sexual Minority Women

Testing a biopsychosocial model of violence exposure, minority stressors, and hazardous drinking among sexual minority women (SMW): This NIH-funded project aims to use epidemiologic, laboratory-based, and multi-method longitudinal approaches to first identify distinct classes or combinations of psychosocial stressors experienced by SMW (i.e., violence and minority stressors), subgroups of SMW most at risk for psychosocial stressors, and the effects of psychosocial stressors on comorbid PTSD and hazardous drinking patterns over time. Second, this project aims to examine whether minority stressors lead to altered physiological stress reactivity, which leads to hazardous drinking and related outcomes as a form of coping with PTSD among SMW. The present model considers the influence of race/ethnicity on these associations. Findings will inform the development of targeted alcohol treatments for SMW.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jillian Scheer
Primary Mentor: Dr. John Pachankis
Co-Mentors: Drs. Tonda Hughes, Rajita Sinha, and Tami Sullivan
Consultants: Drs. Warren and Pietrzak
Project Timeframe: 2021 – 2026
Funder: NIH/NIAAA K01AA028239

Queer Survivors of Trauma (QueST) Project: This project uses qualitative and micro-longitudinal study designs to (1) examine mechanisms that contribute to poor mental and behavioral health among violence-exposed sexual minority women; (2) determine sexual minority women’s maladaptive coping strategies, resiliencies, and help-seeking barriers; and (3) identify intervention strategies to ameliorate mental health issues and substance use in this at-risk population.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jillian Scheer
Co-Investigators: Drs. Skyler Jackson and Abigail Batchelder
Consultant: Dr. Tami Sullivan
Other Collaborators: Cory Cascalheira, Cal Brisbin, TJ Shaw, Zoë Medina-Weiner, and Sofie Calderon
Project Timeframe: 2019 – 2021
Funder: Yale University Women’s Faculty Forum Seed Grant and Yale Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies

A meta-analysis of sexual minority women’s lifetime prevalence of PTSD and alcohol use correlates: This study aims to conduct a meta-analysis documenting a) prevalence rates of PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity among sexual minority women; b) methodological and demographic factors that might influence prevalence rates; and c) common risk factors and alcohol-use correlates of PTSD among SMW and when SMW are compared to heterosexual women. Findings will advance knowledge of our understanding of this disorder among SMW.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jillian Scheer
Co-Investigators: Emily Helminen and Drs. Abigail Batchelder and Tami Sullivan
Other Collaborators: Cory Cascalheira, Sasha Zabelski, and TJ Shaw
Project Timeframe: 2021 – 2022

Sexual Minority Women’s Gender Diversity

A systematic scoping review of sexual minority women’s gender identity and expression: The goal of this systematic scoping review is to map out what is known from the existing literature about how sexual minority women define their gender identity and expression. This study also aims to advance applied research with this population and inform basic research on gender diversity among sexual minority women. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jillian Scheer
Co-Investigators: Drs. Tonda Hughes, Ellen Riggle, Laurie Drabble, and Emily Hart
Other Collaborators: Emily Helminen and Cory Cascalheira
Project Timeframe: 2021 – 2022

Community-Based Research with Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Populations

Formal Help-Seeking Barriers and Facilitators among Victimized SGM People Living in Central NY: This study aims to 1) determine SGM people’s help-seeking barriers and facilitators across multiple ecological levels and 2) identify contextual factors that contribute to whether and how victimized SGM people make use of local domestic violence/sexual assault (DV/SA) programming and shape SGM clients’ response to DV/SA-related services. To address these aims, we are conducting a quantitative needs assessment of 350 racially and ethnically diverse DV/SA-exposed SGM living in Central New York (CNY) and conducting semi-structured interviews with Vera House (a multi-faceted, CNY-based DV/SA organization) providers (n=10 or until saturation) and SGM service users (n=20 or until saturation).

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jillian Scheer
Co-Investigator: Dr. Katie Edwards
Other Collaborators: Staff at the Vera House, Emily Helminen, Cory Cascalheira, Sasha Zabelski, Cal Brisbin, TJ Shaw, Zoë Medina-Weiner, and Sofie Calderon
Project Timeframe: 2021 – 2023
Funder: Syracuse University Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program SD-6-2021

Other Lab-Affiliated Projects

Transgender Clients’ Experiences and Well-Being in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Development of the Gender Identity and Expression Microaggressions Scale: The goal of this study is to develop a self-report scale of transgender, genderqueer, and nonbinary clients’ perceptions of clinician-perpetrated microaggressions during counseling or psychotherapy.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Brandon Velez
Co-Investigators: Drs. Aaron Samuel Breslow and Jillian Scheer
Other Collaborators: Kiara Manosalvas, Christian Adames, and the SII Research Team
Project Timeframe: 2020 – 2022

Border Identity Stress Project: The aim of this two-part study is to better understand border identity stress (i.e., the psychological strain related to belonging to a stigmatized social group that defies binary categorization). Specifically, we plan to use online surveys to assess whether unique forms border identity stress (e.g., identify invalidation) are related to deleterious psychological health outcomes among three specific border identity groups: bisexual/pansexual people, multiracial people, and nonbinary/genderqueer individuals. Study one uses a cross-sectional study design and study 2 features a daily diary study design.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Skyler Jackson
Co-Investigators and other collaborators: Drs. Jillian Scheer and Marisa Franco, Cindy Chang, and Charlotte Loopuijt 
Project Timeframe: 2020 – 2021
Funder: FLAGS Award (Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies) Yale LGBT Studies